Bon Chon Chicken

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My partner in crime had come here a number of times this past week and recommended it to me as a delicious and unique chicken option.  Fortunately there was one located nearby Bodies The Exhibition down around the South Sea Port so I decided to scout it out.  I was in the mood for some wings anyways.  I was of course slightly hesitant because this was another sampling of Asian Fusion cuisine so I wasn’t sure how it’d go.  I had trouble finding the place just because I didn’t expect it to look so “modern.”

Upon finally finding and entering the place, I found the layout to be quite sleek in terms of design.  However, the bar setup and service seemed slightly dysfunctional.  They had a bar with a register where you couldn’t pay, and their selection of drinks was very limited.  Perhaps this was a relatively new store so I let it slide.  Unfortunately my timing wasn’t great either, and I was told that my batch of Soy Garlic Sauce and Spicy Soy Garlic Sauce wings would take about 20 minutes.  This compounded with the incomplete bar did not please me, but I think it was more a result of bad luck than a bad restaurant.

I started off with onion rings which surprisingly took 15 minutes to prepare.  However, I was quite taken with them.  The shells were nice and crispy and fused with the onion inside.  Unlike the average ring, it didn’t feel like I was eating a ring of uncooked onion and a separate ring of batter.  I also could bite through the onion unlike at some places where I spend half my time fighting the onion with my canines.  Their proficiency with onion rings gave me hope for the coming wings.

I was excited about the wings which came with a free side of dull-tasting pickled radishes.  The wings were cooked close to perfection and nice and crispy without loads of unnecessary breading or batter of any kind.  The sauce was very unique, combining hints of sweet and garlic flavors, which sadly isn’t a flavor I relish.  If they offered more flavors than the two I ordered, then this might be the perfect wing place.  Perhaps it is my bias against Asian Fusion again, but I just didn’t like the sauce despite the wings having been cooked so well.

I would come back here, but I’d really have to be in the mood for the unique flavor that is served at this restaurant.  Perhaps I will go to the one in Koreatown next time since I’ve heard that it is slightly better.  Bon Chon Chicken was certainly enough to satisfy my craving for some quality wings.

Express Manna Kitchen

Rating:

What do I do for lunch now that Restaurant Week is over?  I guess I’ll return to those cheap little shops littered around my office.  Well, I finally mustered up the courage to check out this little Korean place that I’ve had an eye on.  After all, I am a huge fan of some good bibimbap in a hot stone bowl.  Unfortunately, I guess the stone bowl eliminates the possibility of getting it as take-out, but I’ll live.

Upon entering, I found that the place was surprisingly packed, but that might just be how all places restaurants around Union Square are during lunch hour.  I must say, firstly, I was not impressed by the price of their bibimbap that came in a stone bowl, netting me $11.92 including tax.  Maybe it was really good though?  Or maybe they just had no competition within a ten block radius, basically until you reach Korea Town.

I believe bibimbap is, in general, pretty simple to cook.  I think much more important is the freshness and quality of the assorted vegetables they include.  I was not as impressed as I would’ve liked for the money I paid, none of the mushrooms, roots, and stems were nearly as delicious as I wanted.  And though it came with the standard side dishes of kimchi, etc., it also came with mashed potatoes rather than what it really needed, a good side of Korean hot sauce.  As well, just to complain further, I think they could’ve used a more appropriately sized bowl.  The quantity of the food was sufficient, but displayed in the bowl that they used, it looked like a meager little portion that would hardly satisfy even a small child.

With such high prices combined with such average ingredients, they should at least make the dish as presentable as possible.  I probably won’t be back just because I can’t afford something of this quality at such a price.  There are both cheaper and better options in the vicinity.  I’ll stick with my Chinese restaurant around the corner.